Time Capsule Letter
Hey Session 3 Sea Turtle Initiative Squad!
Seems like just yesterday we were hanging around in the hammocks at Jason’s place, trudging through the sand at night to protect nesting turtles from poachers, swimming in the waves and waking up to the sounds of birds and rain drops. The Sea Turtle Initiative staff (Allie, Jason, Juliana and Michael) all miss you so much!
We were inspired by each of your over-the-top positivity, hard work, and dedication to learning and service. We hope that your spring break in Costa Rica had a lasting impact on the ways you think about the world and your role in it. We also hope you have shared some of the things you learned with others, specifically about conservation, and the impact humans have on our beautiful planet!
Let’s take this time to remember some moments from our time together.
- Zipping through the trees on our first day, with Menelik arriving just in time
- Seeing seven white-faced monkeys on the farm tour and binging on coconuts
- Team Beans vs Team Rice in Survivor Challenge and Cooking Face-Off
- When we slept in tents with holes and gave sponge baths to a geriatric tour group
- Retrieving the bucket of dreams
- Hammock snuggles
- Menelik as Sand Monster, Dance Superstar and our constant comedian
- Learning about nurdles
- Juli’s flavor
- Riding in the back of a pickup truck
- Teaching the kids the Calma dance… and never learning the lyrics.
- Sharing stories of self
- Best anti-itch cream, courtesy of Sammie and Will
- The fight for bamboo straws
- Seeing Macko’s workshop
- Deep life talks on the night walks
- Stopping at the waterfall on the way back home
- The dramatic telenovela at the pizza place
Thanks for all the incredible memories! Keep exploring and asking questions – we are excited to see all the things you do in the future! And remember– it’s not good-bi, it’s see you later!
Allie, Jason, Juliana, and Michael
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Saturday March 30, 2019
Hola Amigos y Familia!!
We’re so excited to have six of our nine students here with us in Alajuela, Costa Rica. We had a very chill day exploring the town, getting ice cream and smoothies, and stopping by the central park to watch the famous Alajuela dancers! We just wrapped up our first night with a small orientation and a very fun game of 2 Truths and a Lie!
We’re looking forward to meeting the last third of our Spring Break family tomorrow morning and head out to the zipline!! Followed by a long day of travel in bus, boat and finally, by foot, to arrive at our beautiful and rustic jungle lodge!!
Look out for more updates soon! Pura Vida!!
– GLA Costa Rica Spring Break Staff: Michael, Juli and Allie
Sunday March 30, 2019
It was our first day of traveling and we spent most of the day on the bus bonding, having added three more members. Sammie and Will arrived first thing in the morning and Melenik luckily made it in time to zip line with the group. Zip lining was a lot of fun and filled most of the afternoon.
Following that, there was about an hour and a half drive to home base, where we stopped at a grocery store to load up on snacks. There was a small boat ride on the river to get to Parismina, in which we settled in, ate dinner, and got to know eachother better. So far, the group is getting along very well and we all vibe.
– Hiyasmin and Elinor
Monday April 1, 2019
Yesterday, when we got up we did some optional yoga, and after breakfast we did a team building activity where some people could see and talk but couldn’t touch anything, some people could touch people but not things and they couldn’t speak to other people, some could not see but they could touch anything and so we had to figure out a way to get a box of dreams from a circle without touching the inside of the circle.
Each group of people were a metaphor for different types of leaders. Direct leaders, relational leaders and supportive leaders. Then we took a tour of Jason’s farm. It was really cool because he has lots of plants and he also said that with the majority of the plants he leaves most of the fruit for the animals so that the ecosystem stays the same. While on the farm tour we saw iguanas, birds, monkeys, and we even saw a sloth.
The monkeys came up close to us and in the end there were seven monkeys that ended up super close to us in trees nearby. Next we had a representative from the turtle Association come to the Eco Lodge to talk about turtles and about the night watch we would do later on that night. It was really interesting to hear all of the facts and how they are working to try to conserve the turtle population.
Yesterday we also had the swim test and it was super easy and everyone passed if they wanted to. After we did the swim test we had time to swim in the ocean and it was really warm and then we did a survivor challenge that Michael had set up. There were teams rice and beans and team beans won. After hanging out at the beach for a while we went back to the lodge and hung out for a little bit and had some dinner. This was the first night we were going to do the turtle watch.
We had to put on dark clothing, close toed shoes, and we weren’t allowed to have any lights with us. Our guides didn’t speak any English so it was a perfect time for Spanish students to practice or Spanish. We walked along the beach at night looking for turtle tracks and to see if we could find a sea turtle with a nest of eggs and relocate the eggs to hatchery where they could be monitored and have a better chance of survival from natural predators and poachers.
Then our watch started at 10 and went till 12. Once it was over we were all super tired and went straight to bed. Sadly one of our friends, Bree, had to go home due to some health related issues. We are going to miss her so much but it was for her best personal interest.
– Sammie & Will
Tuesday April 2, 2019
Day 4 of our Costa Rica journey!!! We’re halfway done with the trip now! Everyone is having a blast and enjoying the beautiful nature and wild animals. Today we went to the village in Parismina to walk around and see the schools, restaurants (sodas), and the homes people live in. We took our first stop in the village at a wonderful woman’s house named Yolanda. She taught us how to make delicious empanadas; after learning the basics, two different groups had a contest to see which group could make the best empanadas with the weirdest ingredients.
The group with Samantha, William, Sydney, and Menalick won the contest by adding cheese, crushed chips, spices, hot sauce, onion, garlic, and tomato. After the contest we went and walked around the village looking at all the cool different places. It was a very fun experience for the group and we’re so excited to go back on Thursday. After getting back we went to the beach and picked up lots of trash. Everyone did a wonderful job helping clean. Later that night we went to look for turtles but didn’t find any, hopefully we will see one on our last patrol!
– Sydney Lohse
Wednesday April 3, 2019
As the sun rose on day 5, the day began. The first thing we always do is eat breakfast, usually eggs, toast and fresh fruit. Sometimes a delicious Costa Rica dish called Gallo Pinto! When we were done, Jason (the local director and owner of the Eco-Lodge) took us on a boat tour of the river. With superpower-like vision, Jason spotted and pointed out Spider Monkeys, Howler monkeys, Yellow Hawks, Basilisks, and many other amazing jungle creatures.
He explained that the river runs into the oceans. Maybe that’s why we saw 2 dolphins swimming in the lagoon next to us!!! When we were heading back, we spotted a Cayman. The boat got really close so that we were an arms-length away. As we moved around in the boat to get a better look, it ran away and we all screamed!!
In the afternoon, we went to the beach to clean and have fun. Allie explained how dangerous micro-plastics are and showed us Nurdles, these tiny little plastic balls that are used for plastic production. Somehow, billions got dumped in the ocean, but no one knows exactly where they all came from. They are all over and look kind of like sand.
When we got back, we were challenged to re-use our trash to either make a piece of art with a statement or a new product that’s not yet on the market. It was enlightening and really funny.
Then we had a dance class. We warmed up with Zumba, then learned Soca, Salsa, Bachata and Merengue steps. Michael was the best at Zumba and Menalik was the best.
After dinner, we got dressed for our last service. We didn’t find any turtles, but it was a nice night-walk and we did an activity called the “Wonder Circle”. We still have one night left in Parismina so even though we won’t be patrolling, we hope that the other volunteers will call us if they find a turtle!
– Menalik and Eli
During the last day of being in Parismina, everybody was soaking up every moment 🙂 The day started off with morning yoga as usual, for those who wanted to stretch, and that lead into breakfast. The girls slept through yoga and woke up crusty and hungry. We planned for the school visit by organizing which games and songs the group would share with the children to better their English skills. The activities that we came up with were focused on body parts both in Spanish with an English translation.
On our last trip to the Lagoon, the group calmed down and really lived in the moment by doing a mindfulness walk to our transport into the community. The school visit went smoothly and was full of energy both from us and the kids. We parted ways for Lunch, as we ate at the A-Stop home base. Following that, the locals set up a Féria where we all bought souvenirs :). The day ended in the community with volleyball accompanied by the locals. Back at home base, we ate our last dinner :(. Lastly, the last activity was inner critic in which everybody reflected on their insecurities (inner critics) and uplifted one another 🙂
– Lees & Hiyasmin
Friday April 5, 2019
On our drive back from Parismina, we took a new route and were treated to a gorgeous waterfall on the way. We had a pizza dinner in Alajuela, and spent our evening reflecting on our trip and saying our final goodbyes. We closed it out with an activity where we anonymously showed our appreciation for each other and for the unforgettable experience we’ve shared here in Costa Rica.
Saturday April 6, 2019
All students from the Costa Rica Sea Turtle Initiative have officially departed and are on their way home to their families! Thanks to each program participant for a week full of learning, service and adventure. We will miss you and hope you take the lessons you learned in Costa Rica with you back to the USA. What a crazy, memorable week!
Lots of love,
GLA staff: Allie, Juli, Michael and Jason